Tiverton doesn’t appear on the list of “must-visit” ports of most yachtsmen, but this little town on the east bank of the Sakonnet River has its share of charms for intrepid boaters willing to check out this eastern outpost of Rhode Island. While the northern half of Tiverton borders Mount Hope Bay up to the Massachusetts border, boaters will be most interested in the section beginning at the Sakonnet River/Rt. 24 bridge and running south along the Sakonnet River to Fogland Point.
But first the bare boating facts: Tiverton has 2 small marinas, a yacht club and a couple of waterfront restaurants, plus a few more eateries within easy walking distance. There is no public landing, although this should be forthcoming in the next few years following completion of the Sakonnet River/Rt. 24 bridge project. In the meantime, transients can find overnight accommodations at Standish Boatyard and the Tiverton Yacht Club, both located in the “basin” just south of the bridge. And while anchoring is not permitted in the basin, there are some good options nearby, and visiting boaters can make landfall at Grinnell’s Beach, the yacht club or the marina.
By “marina” we mean the venerable Standish Boatyard, the largest marina in Tiverton, which sells both gas and diesel and offers transient slips and moorings. Next door is the distinctly non-yachty Tiverton Yacht Club, which is currently in the process of rebuilding its clubhouse (destroyed by fire in 2003). The club offers occasional transient slips and moorings when its members are away.
A short walk south along the waterfront will bring you to Coastal Roasters, the best place to grab a gourmet coffee and pastry before hitting the water. Across the street you can grab a bite at the newly renovated Stone Bridge Restaurant.
Tiverton is a wonderful spot for kayaking. While the Sakonnet River is better suited to experienced paddlers due to its fetch, strong currents and boat wakes, beginners will feel right at home in protected Nannaquaket Pond, a sheltered salt pond off the main river.
Nannaquaket can be accessed by shoal-draft powerboats via the channel leading from the Sakonnet River northeast of Gould Island. Inside the inlet, on the east bank, is a dock next to an abandoned 2-story shingled building where boaters can tie up temporarily (space permitting) to purchase fresh seafood from a small store on Main Road. South of this dock, at the northern end of Nannaquaket Pond, is a bridge with a clearance of 10 to 14 feet (depending on tide). On the pond’s east bank you’ll find Evelyn’s Drive-In restaurant and Don’s Marine, a boat dealership. Small boats can tie up to the docks at Evelyn’s and enjoy the restaurant’s signature seafood dishes, grilled fare and ice cream. It’s an idyllic summer boating stop.
Nannaquaket is also a great anchorage (at night) and a popular spot for waterskiing during the day. There is no speed limit inside the pond outside of the mooring areas.
Continuing south, kayakers, windsurfers and kiteboarders can access the wide lower portion of the Sakonnet River farther south at Fogland Point. This is also a great spot for fishing, both from shore and in a boat (see related article on Fishing Tiverton). The protected area just north of Fogland Point is a popular and protected anchorage for transient boaters.